Anthony makes sure his play speaks for itself

by - Senior Writer -
Anthony leans in for a tackle this past Saturday against Troy

CLEMSON – The middle linebacker is the quarterback of the defense in Kevin Steele’s defensive scheme, responsible for taking the signal from the sideline and relaying it to the rest of the defense, and then making sure the defense is set before each play.

Steele sent true freshman linebacker Stephone AnthonyStephone Anthony
Fr. Linebacker
#12 6-2, 220
Wadesboro, NC

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into the fire last Saturday against Troy, and entrusted the North Carolina native with the responsibility of calling the defensive signals, but when he looked out on the field, he said he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

Anthony was jumping up and down, and waving his arms while calling the signals, and Steele told Anthony when he got to the sidelines that he could simply call the plays without all of the motions.

Anthony’s response: “I just wanted to make sure they saw me, coach.”

Anthony’s play and work ethic have made sure he has been heard – loud and clear – from the practice fields behind Jervey to the film room to the playing field this Saturday – and that he will be heard from more and more as the season continues.

Steele moved Anthony, an outside linebacker throughout most of his high school career, to the middle during the second week of fall practice, and said he had no problems tossing Anthony into the middle of tight ballgame on Saturday.

"He's a smart guy, and he’s obviously very talented,” Steele said. “He can go from Point A to Point B in a hurry. He is very instinctive. He felt right at home. You could tell early. I think we put him in the third series, the first play, and you could tell when he came off that series - you could tell in his play - but when he came off that series, it really didn't faze him. He was just playing football. He's a good player."

Anthony finished with four tackles, a sack and broke up a pass in just over 20 plays against the Trojans, and Steele said the rookie acquitted himself quite well.

"There are a lot of guys that know it,” Steele said. “When the bullets start flying, are you ducking for cover, or are you attacking? He was attacking. “

Anthony was told about the comments of Steele and head coach Dabo Swinney, and he said he only had one explanation, and that he recognizes he still has a ways to go.

"The man above just blessed me with the talent,” Anthony said. “I'm just using it the best way that I can. I still haven't figured out the whole defense. You have to get everybody set and make all the calls. I have a long way to go. I'm still not comfortable with it, right now. There's a lot more that I need to know and understand. I'm learning it at a great pace. It's a focus that you've got to have. You've got to have the will and want to do it. You've got to have the will to want to learn the defense.”

Anthony was listed as third on the depth chart at the middle linebacker position heading into last week, but was moved into the second spot for this week’s game against Wofford. Starter Corico HawkinsCorico Hawkins
Jr. Linebacker
#42 5-11, 230
Milledgeville, GA

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has been battling a minor injury all week, meaning Anthony may get to play more snaps against Wofford’s option offense, a challenge he relishes.

"It's assignment football," Anthony said of the Wofford offense. "My high school team ran the triple option, so I'm used to seeing it. Everybody just has to do their job."

Anthony was asked if he will be less nervous now that he has one game under his belt, and he laughed and said no.

"At the beginning of each game this season, I’m going to be nervous,” he said. “But when it all boils down to it, it's back to just playing ball and back to doing what you've been doing all your life."

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